Asheville meets goal

By Solja Nygard Frangos

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County met its annual campaign goal of $5.4 million last year, thanks to strong workplace drives at health-care providers and financial firms, and growth in big gifts by individuals.

But drives fell at firms employing fewer than 100 people, says David Bailey, president.

Mission St. Joseph’s hospital, one of the biggest drives, raised $411,000, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

“This time we really tried to make all 5,000 employees aware of the drive and return their pledge cards in time,” says Beverly Robinson, the hospital’s drive manager.

Other successful drives included Wachovia bank, which raised $36,000, up 16 percent, and Eaton Cutler Hammer, an electrical equipment maker, which raised $206,000, up 8 percent.

Giving by individuals and families contributing at least $1,000 grew 8 percent and accounted for one-third of the total raised. The number of those gifts grew to more than 1,000 from 930.

“We were more confident about asking for bigger amounts,” says Bailey.

Giving at smaller firms fell 1.5 percent

The campaign’s success means a boost for the United Way’s 38 member agencies.

Girl Scouts of Western North Carolina Pisgah Council, for example, gets 10 percent of its $1.1 million budget from the United Way and uses those funds to cover program expenses, says Robin Pace, executive director.

Thanks to the United Way, other support and the sale of cookies and nuts, she says, each girl pays only $7 a year for programs, compared to a cost of $130.

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